Here I am standing next to the statue of Elizabeth Montgomery, a.k.a. Samantha Stephens from “Bewitched,” in Salem, Massachusetts. I was there this past weekend to get my witch on. As you can see, the statue isn’t a great likeness of Liz (looks more like Zora from Planet Of The Apes), but it’s cool nonetheless.
I definitely have mixed feelings about Salem. On the one hand, this town has built a large economy around one of the ugliest incidents in American history. I don’t care how much hot, delicious apple cider you ply me with, Salem – nothing changes the fact you wrongfully executed nineteen innocent people, many of whom were probably just makin’ shit up to get attention and/or buggin’ out from eating moldy rye bread.
On the other hand, it’s not like the residents of this tiny New England town can escape their history. These people are forever linked to the Witch Trials whether they like it or not. They might as well try to make the best of it. And it’s not like they’re out there bragging, like, “Yeah, we got them goddamn witchy assholes!” Based on my experience, most of what goes on there is pretty classy. A little overpriced, maybe (the eight dollar “haunted house” I attended was nothing more than dimly lit hallway populated by a chubby fourth grader in a werewolf mask), but mostly classy.
Coincidentally, I caught a big chunk of The Crucible on TV at the hotel that night. Winona Ryder is fierce in that movie. I wouldn’t want to accuse that chick of even looking at me funny. Speaking of which, remember that old “Saturday Night Live” skit “The Salem Bitch Trials” with Shannen Doherty? That was a funny one. That was one of those “let’s cram all the cast members into one scene and give everybody something really dopey to say” skits. Love those.
I should also mention that I passed through Boston on my way to Salem. I’d never been to Beantown before, and what can I say? It didn’t really do it for me. I kept having “Cheers” flashbacks (specifically, the haunting visage of John Ratzenberger yelling, “Hey, Nahmie!” through those crazy teeth of his). I was also disappointed I didn’t see either the disembodied head or headless corpse of Ted Williams lying around anywhere. What’s up, Boston? I thought you kept that shit on display. Thumbs down.
Actually, looking at that statue again, the face looks a lot like Milton Berle. That’s very disturbing, particularly on top of that, um, very feminine body. Uncle Milty, you’re confusing me!